By Jenni Culkin
Ronjo has a little something magical for everyone. The magic and costume shop has card tricks, coin tricks, novelty items, pranks, juggling props and swords, magicians, knife throwers, ventriloquists, jugglers, balloon artists and party planners. There are costumes, accessories, makeup, masks, wigs and so much more on display from the moment a customer walks through the doors.
“We specialize in entertainment,” said Ronald Diamond, owner of the shop on Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station. “We can do it all.”
Diamond is a professional magician and entertainer who has years of experience working with different age groups. He believes that magic is an art form that serves a purpose higher than just entertainment.
He attributes his success to good business practices, like customer service skills and product knowledge. He also gives credit to the current manager of the store, Peter Albertson.
Born in Flatbush, Diamond’s family moved to Suffolk County in 1966. The shop owner began his adventure at seven years old, when he was introduced to magic and took it up as a hobby. In May 1974, when he was 15, he began to take magic from hobby to profession.
“It made me feel confident,” Diamond said about performing magic. “It helps people with public speaking and it is used as a way to connect.”
Diamond, a husband and father of two girls, lives in the Town of Brookhaven, where he says he can relate to and understand the needs of his local customers. He believes he can spread his confidence and social skills by offering private magic lessons for adults and children and running a magic club during the first Friday of each month. During the nicer weather, Diamond runs a free magic show that accepts donations for designated charities.
According to the businessman, magic can boost even the most distinguished professionals, such as health professionals and lawyers, by helping them develop social connections with the people they work with.
In 1978, Diamond began expanding his store’s specialties to include costumes and other dress-up items, a transition that began when his performers started asking him if he could provide them with a mask or a costume to further entertain their audiences.
“We are not Halloween, we are Hollywood!” Diamond said, sharing his motto for Ronjo’s costumes.
People are impressed by the quality and selection of the store’s costumes, he said, especially when compared with chain stores that tend to carry only three sizes or one-size-fits-all costumes. Ronjo’s shelves have costumes for many seasons and holidays, including the Easter bunny, Santa Claus and some comical green St. Patrick’s Day outfits.
Ronjo also manufactures its own tricks — about 40 right now — and distributes them worldwide, and Diamond has published a couple of his own magic booklets.
In recent years, Ronjo has upped its game, becoming a “green” store that uses LED lighting and prints on both sides of the paper and cards they use.
“This is not a job,” Diamond said about his business. “It is a lifestyle for me.”